Hiark’s Beliefs (7/2018)

“What are we here for if not to enjoy life eternal, solve what problems we can, give light, peace and joy to our fellow man, and leave this dear fucked-up planet a little healthier than when we were born.”

-Henry V Miller

Hiark exists to help fulfill the ideal laid out by Miller above. We believe a person is known only through relationship with others, and how we see and treat others in large part determines the quality of our lives.

We believe people are imperfect and will remain so despite every effort, yet people can grow and improve both their relationships and themselves. We believe, with Karen Horney, that humans possess an innate capacity for self-actualization but obstacles prevent the natural forces from working smoothly.

We believe that real change is slow, uncomfortable, and sometimes frankly painful. Our stance is that discomfort and disequilibrium are not only indicators of latent potential but are the sine qua non of growth. It must be tolerable, but growth/change/improvement/realization of potential do not happen without discomfort.

In line with Alfred Adler, we believe all problems are interpersonal problems, and there has been too little focus on helping people through their relationships. Our relationships with family, friends, lovers, partners, peers, colleagues, coworkers and acquaintances give our life the potential for joy, but unfortunately rarely yield the maximum of their capacity. We think our current way of utilizing our relationships barely scratches the surfaces of what they might do for us.

We believe we are the problem with our lives. More precisely, the stories we tell about ourselves, the flawed self-narrative, self-perception, and self-image that currently prominent technology has only made more entrenched. There is a lack of adequate self-correction mechanisms available today which leads to a waste of potential and a gross misallocation of our most precious asset: ourselves. It is our primary task in life to take responsibility for our choices, for our role in our interpersonal problems, for our allocation of time and energy, and to make the appropriate changes in line with our values.

If what we laid out in the paragraph above were easy, Hiark would not need to exist. It is not easy. If this were a task that didn’t involve substantial risk of harm to both self and others, the full realization of potential would be far more common than it is today. Maslow estimated that fewer than 2% of people, on their own, find a path to their best selves.

Hiark exists to facilitate growth. To make the process of realization easier, but not easy. We’ve worked to lower interpersonal risks, but we can’t make the process of growth-through-interpersonal-feedback riskless. Our commitment to our community is to continually integrate feedback (explicit and implicit) and improve the return on interpersonal capital our users get from engaging on Hiark. We aim to embody as a company the process for growth and improvement we believe will improve the individual lives of our users.

We can’t guarantee feelings won’t be hurt in this process. We can’t provide a clear, linear path forward for every user to improve relationships and well-being. There is no generic, easy answer. We do promise to continually work to cultivate an environment conducive to growth, to relentlessly remove abusive users, and to adapt to maximize our positive impact on the people who use Hiark.

“Let us SPEAK thereof, ye wisest ones, even though it be bad. To be silent is worse; all suppressed truths become poisonous.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”

-Louis Brandeis

We believe white lies and lies of omission are long-term corrosive to relationships and personal growth. Further, that these are far more deleterious than commonly considered, yet are reasonable decisions within the normal bounds of relationships. People do not want to bear the cost of bad news (or even potentially bad news). The payoff is quite asymmetric between the bearer and receiver of bad news with the bearer taking the brunt of negative payoffs (retribution, revenge) and the receiver retaining most of the upside (by using the information to make new, better decisions). This leads to a base-case of silence, despite Nietzsche’s admonishment. This is all to say, our current society-wide obstacle to full realization of our latent capacity makes sense.

We believe a subtle, insidious shift has occurred in our national psyche, such that artificial comfort in our relationships is prized over challenging our friends to be their best due to these asymmetric risks. We believe we’ve collectively sacrificed growth for comfort and accepted wasted potential on a monumental scale in a misguide effort to be “sensitive.” We believe that a collective choice of personal comfort, weaponized outrage, and performative hyper-sensitivity dramatically lower the ceiling on our innate capacity to achieve. We built Hiark to advocate for authentic strength and resilience, and to challenge our community to reach the peak of their potential.

We believe, most fundamentally, in the power of information (given in the right way at the right time) to transform people’s lives for the better. We will work to make this information available to those willing to think differently about themselves and take on the uncomfortable challenge to fully realize their potential.

We believe the internet enables a new type of information transfer which hasn’t been fully utilized until Hiark. We understand that most people won’t want to use Hiark because it will not immediately gratify a need on a lower rung of Maslow’s Hierarchy (i.e. acceptance and esteem). Our goal for Hiark is not to maximize metrics like MAU or ARPU. We aim to optimize AGPU (average growth per user). We’ll never be a unicorn or a decacorn, and we will probably burn through our meager savings-funded capital without reaching the vast majority of people who could improve their lives by engaging on Hiark. We accept this reality. If, even for a few people, we can help to “solve what problems we can, give light, peace and joy to our fellow man, and leave this dear, fucked-up planet a little healthier than when we were born” then Hiark has been a success.




LCHF/$DPZ Enthusiast, psychiatrist, early investor in coffee

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Michael Vagts

Michael Vagts

LCHF/$DPZ Enthusiast, psychiatrist, early investor in coffee

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